Post-Traumatic Growth: A Hero's Journey

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Simpson, Jenny Lynn
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This thesis explores the current psychotherapeutic practices of trauma treatment as well as evaluating the process of Tedeschi and Calhoun's concept of Post-Traumatic Growth. Coupled with this study, is a parallel study of Campbell's Hero's Journey and how this narrative arc could assist in understanding and possibly facilitate Post-Traumatic Growth. For the purpose of this study, I have completed a qualitative study including a literature review, which incorporates the history of our understanding of trauma as a society, recently as therapists, and trauma's current and past treatments, quantitative studies of PTG as well as variations of understanding the Hero's Journey and how these could increase understanding of the process of Post-Traumatic Growth and facilitate therapeutic conversations. Trauma is not new to our society, but our awareness in both psychotherapy and as a modern society has been increasing and terms like 'trauma informed' and 'trauma sensitive' have been applied to therapy, yoga, literature, education and even medical treatment. Increasing our awareness of trauma and its effects could possibly decrease its occurrence in society and encourage more support those who have experienced trauma which could decrease their symptoms and increase awareness of situational context and contributing stressors. Utilizing common narrative arcs such as the Hero's Journey to understand trauma and its effects could assist clients and society's understanding of trauma and its lasting impacts as well as our capacity for growth following adverse experiences. Implications and recommendations for psychotherapeutic practices are included in this study, including increased studies on mind body connection using medical science to understand the adverse effects of trauma and its physical and psychological manifestations.
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